BOOK: Resolution by Robert B. Parker

I’m not sure why I picked this book up, considering the fact I wasn’t that impressed with the first book in Parker’s Western series, Appaloosa, nor was I that impressed with the film version that came out last year (starring Viggo Mortensen and Ed Harris).

The only way I can explain it is that I’ve been a fan of Robert B. Parker’s since I was a teenager, and, kind of like with the show ER, once I’ve invested over a decade in something — a TV show, an author, a convoluted procedure by which I consume a bag of M&Ms (don’t ask), it’s hard for me to let go.

In any case, as I’m sure you can tell, I wasn’t all that impressed by this second installment in the Hitch and Cole series either. In this one, Hitch has left partner Cole behind in Appaloosa, and been hired to “keep the peace” in the small town of Resolution. There’s a local guy who has been systematically taking control of everything in town, and the local farmers, keen to keep their land, eventually also enlist Hitch’s support in their cause. As those of us familiar with the character no doubt knew was coming, Cole shows up eventually, having finally come to his senses about flaky, flirty wife Allison. So, the team is back together again, uniting to save the town from the bad guy.

Here’s my problem — again, this is a storyline that I’ve encountered 86 gazillion times in the Western genre. I’m a big fan of that genre, so I know all these stories already, and Parker doesn’t seem capable of coming up with any new plotlines for this series. That would be fine, though, if the characters were unique and interesting. Here, they just aren’t. Watch Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven, and then watch Ed Harris again in Appaloosa, and I think you’ll see what I mean. And in written form, Hitch and Cole are no more interesting. They’re just flat, with a few little personality affects that are supposed to authenticate them, but just aren’t quite “on” enough to seem anything but forced.

Anyway, I hate to say it, but dude, I sincerely hope Parker ditches this series soon and returns to the characters we already know and love – characters that have remained dynamic and authentic for years and years. I actually MISS Spenser when I’m in between novels. When I finished Appaloosa or Resolution, I honestly never gave Hitch and Cole another thought. Meh. Done.


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5 Responses to “BOOK: Resolution by Robert B. Parker”

  1. J. Forbes Says:

    I found the series hard to put down. Hitch and Cole are manly men who understand the code of the west and live it. Maybe it takes a man to appreciate their friendship and laconic dialog. I hope not, but that may be why you did not like the series.

  2. Meg Says:

    No, it doesn’t take a man. I’m a huge fan of Westerns and have been since I was a kid. I think THAT’s probably the problem — I’ve just seen this exact story told, including the relationship elements between the two main characters, 86 bazillion times. There wasn’t anything unique here. Nothing interesting about the characters, nothing interesting about the story — all stuff I’ve seen done, and better, a LOT in the genre.

  3. J. Forbes Says:

    You may be right. I took the series as a quick summer read that was fun. It is not Tolstoy but I was not looking for that level of reading. Please suggest an author who got the western right besides Zane Grey.

  4. Meg Says:

    Aha, easy question! Louis L’Amour, Zane Grey, Cormac McCarthy (times infinity plus one!), and Glendon Swarthout for authors. For specific books, try Michael Ondaatje’s “The Collected Works of Billy the Kid,” Pam Houston’s “Cowboys are my Weakness,” “The Cowboy Way” by David McCumber (a memoir about his time on a dude ranch, so not quite what we mean by classical “Western,” but if you like the genre, I think you’ll love this book!). Um, what else. . . “Monte Walsh” or “Shane” by Jack Schaefer, “True Grit” by Charles Portis (so, so great; don’t just watch the film(s), read the book!), “Riders to Cibola” by Zollinger (it’s about Pancho Villa and I have a family connection to PV — one of my ancestors tracked him for years trying to capture him!). Gosh, man, I could go on and on. There are lots of great Westerns out there!

  5. Meg Says:

    Oh look! I clearly have excellent taste! 🙂

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